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Don Shiau

Contributor Biography

Don Shiau tells other people’s stories for a living, and tells his own for leisure. While he appreciates poetry, he rarely writes it—his contributions to Atelier of Healing are his first published poems in 22 years.


because all I read now are corona words,
those numbing numbers, that dialect of science,

and my days are all corona days
running into each other with no feet or head,

I search Netflix for corona movies,
unwilling to remind myself of another world

filled with pre-corona songs and shows.
There's too little to sing for, and for how long?

I choke slowly on the corona food
I grew too tired to cook fully, and wonder—

are my failures just corona failures?
Or would I give up as easily on something lesser?

Perhaps my next life should be a corona life: 
unmade, missing nothing, a shelter

                                                 within a shelter

(London, April 2020)


Before we do this,
please remember:
I have been here before.

All that weight I have unslung
still throbs in my shoulders.

So if you catch me
walking without your bounce,
speaking without your lilt,
fading before the day is discussed—
Know that I'm still trying.

It's just harder to catch lightning,

I want no less
to give you the sparkle
I once spent everything on.

But I want more
to stand with you on the shore
until we find our level.

For you
to hold me as I thaw
and my fingers close around your back
in silent completion.

Loke Sun Yi

Contributor Biography

Loke Sun Yi is a humanities student passionate in the arts. She occasionally dabbles in writing, mostly consisting of offhand observations and self-indulgent poetry. Aside from studying subjects like literature and linguistics, she also enjoys visual art and dance. She believes in living life and loving people as hard as we can while we are still here.

a poem that will never deliver

and i had propped up my pride 
on humility and compassion,
but i thought too highly of myself
and lived too little of your reality,
until you went crashing down
and my calls of concern rang pathetically
in the singeing silence of the aftermath, 
me collapsing 
with you. 

and i had opened your midnight messages, 
and collected your scattered cries, 
and tried stringing them together 
to trace the tortured footsteps you trudged—
but i did not know, 
how it was like to have something 
immeasurably important
brutally gouged out 
like a butchered, gutted carcass,
a gaping fresh wound
never to recover.

now i am left 
to walk alone
and you are right 
here no longer
and every second that crawls by is
another reminder that you 
are not breathing with us;
are not available, 
at the tone, i can only
leave a message that will never deliver;
are as good as a breeze on a rainy night, 
ephemeral, intangible, 
going, going, 

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